Gov. Chris Christie has signed legislation requiring a half-million public employees in New Jersey to pay more for their pension and health benefits.
Flanked by mayors and legislative leaders, Christie said Tuesday the new law will save taxpayers at least $132 billion over the next 30 years.
“It is an important moment for the state of New Jersey, for its citizens, its taxpayers, and New Jersey has once again become a model for America,” Christie said.
Public employee unions argued health-care benefits should be negotiated at the bargaining table, but were unable to prevent the Legislature from approving the measure.
The governor and Senate President Steve Sweeney began working on the reforms last fall. They say the state is doing something unique by putting private-sector management principles into public-sector pensions.
“We’ve done something here that should be a model for the nation,” Sweeney said. “So that as you’re hearing this pension crisis in the country where there’s $3 trillion of shortfall, the people who work for the state of New Jersey don’t have to worry anymore. They know when they retire their pensions are going to be there.”
Christie says taxpayers should start to see significant savings from the new law in the property tax bills that will be sent out next summer.